Retro Round-up for August 1st

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posted 8/3/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
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Every week Cyril Lachel comes down from his giant castle in the hills to provide the final word on all of the classic downloadable games and retro compilations. This is the Retro Round-Up, your official guide to the best (and worst) in classic gaming for the Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Join us as we shed some light on what games are worth your five or ten dollars, and what games you should avoid at all costs. For more information about these games (and retro gaming in general) we invite you to check out Defunct Games! But for now, here's your guide for the first week in August ...

Drop Off
What Is It?
Drop Off is what you get when you combine all the fun and excitement of Puzzle Bobble with Arkanoid, it's a 2D action game where you try and clear a screen by bouncing a ball up and down. While I have nothing against either Puzzle Bobble or Arkanoid, this TurboGrafx-16 game just isn't much fun to play. In Drop Off you are in charge of bouncing a ball with this small circle piece, as you bounce the ball around the screen you will delete the objects that you hit. The goal is to clear all of the pieces off of the board, either by hitting them individually or making then drop by deleting the blocks attaching the objects. It's a simple premise that is easy to learn and hard to master. But don't get too excited, just because the game is simple that doesn't automatically mean that it's fun. With its dopey story, ugly graphics and boring gameplay, Drop Off is hardly the most exciting Virtual Console game. You're better off just playing Break Out or Puzzle Bobble.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is simple and easy to learn, but the game itself just isn't a lot of fun. There are a few sparks of brilliance in this game, including some interesting objects and a few unique boss battles. But even with that going for the game, Drop Out is just not a very exciting game. Your paddle is far too small for this type of game and the control is somewhat sluggish. I've never been a huge fan of the Arkanoid-style of gameplay and this game just takes everything I hate about those games and ratchets it up a level. There are some good ideas here, but the game just doesn't hold up all these years later.

Is It Worth The Money?
Absolutely not! If this is your first exposure to games like Puzzle Bobble or Break Out then you might find some enjoyment with this title, but at this point you should have more than enough access to those other, better games. Six dollars is a bit much for the limited amount of fun you'll have with a game like Drop Off. Just avoid this one; it's the right thing to do.

Drop Off

Dynamite Headdy
What Is It?
It's Dynamite Headdy, Treasure's much ballyhooed follow-up to Gunstar Heroes. But Dynamite Headdy is not a Gunstar Heroes sequel; it's a very different game with a completely different set of characters and powers. Dynamite Headdy tells the story of a small puppet who is taking part in a giant stage performance full of risk and action. But this is no ordinary puppet, Headdy is the kind of puppet that can throw his head to kill enemies and solve puzzles. Headdy is also privy to a number of unique power-ups that all seem to have something to do with his ability to throw his head. For example, Headdy will be able to turn his head into spikes, a hammer, a war head, a pin head, and so much more. Beyond the weird power-ups, Dynamite Headdy stands out because of its weird (yet oddly beautiful) presentation. Being a stage performance you will often find backgrounds that look like they were pieced together by stage hands, in fact, from time to time you will even see those same stage hands come out and change the backgrounds (to get you ready for a boss battle or another level). Treasure has always been known for their crazy boss battles, and Dynamite Headdy is no exception. From start to finish Dynamite Headdy is a genuine classic, a bizarre action game that is as much fun today as it was a decade ago. If you're a fan of Gunstar Heroes (or just fun games in general) then Dynamite Headdy should be at the top of your list this week.

Does It Still Hold Up?
There just aren't a lot of games like Dynamite Headdy. This 2D action game is more than just good looks and great characters; it also has some of the craziest power-ups you'll ever see. We're talking about a character whose head comes completely off of his body to attack enemies, climb to high areas, and break down hard objects. Like Gunstar Heroes and all of those other 16-bit Treasure classics, Dynamite Headdy is an easy game to just sit down and play; you'll be using your head like a pro in no time. But beyond the memorable enemy designs, great bosses and cool level, Dynamite Headdy is just a fun action game with some amazing power-ups. When we look back at all of the me-too platformers that came out of the 16-bit era it's easy to forget that there are a few genuine classics that stand above the rest. Dynamite Headdy is that type of classic, and one could probably argue that the experience is better now that we don't have to put up with so many 2D action games. Does Dynamite Headdy still hold up? Is water still wet?

Is It Worth The Money?

Yes, yes, yes ... a thousand times yes! Dynamite Headdy is the reason we set up this retro section. Not only is this one of the best 16-bit games of all time, but it's also one of those games that a lot of people have passed over for one reason or another. Released right after Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy brings the same attention to detail and hyper-addictive action ... only this time with a dash of off the wall humor. This game is bizarre, but that's one of the best reasons to check it out. I've never been a fan of the $8 price point for the Sega Genesis games, but if there's one Virtual Console worth full price then this is it!

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